How are the parties??? If you've scanned any of the Lehigh posts, you will know that the parties are plentiful, you will have a social life - how much of one is what you make of it. There is much to do on and off campus and it doesn't all have to do with drinking.
My daughter is a sophomore -- when she was accepted, freshman were assigned to dorms based on when their housing deposit was received. Can't speak for sure, but I bet this hasn't changed. Unless you choose one of the specialty houses -- CHOICE, ROTC, etc. -- you will be assigned.
Some things do change from year to year. Her freshman year she was in Smiley. The year before Smiley was a sorority house.
Your home away from home is what you make of it. I don't think you should spin your wheels over this.
I'm a bit dated, but the basic layout of the dorms hasn't changed since I lived in Richards and McConn as an undergrad.
Richards, Dravo, and Drinker form the old "freshman quad" where all freshmen lived until the school went coed in 1971. The dorms were overcrowded when I was a student, so all rooms were double rooms (even the small ones in Richards and Drinker). I was lucky enough to be assigned to a larger room (Richards 308) and it was plenty big for two. Dravo was an unusual place with narrow, winding hallways --- reminded me of being in a cave. No doubt someone with a front room on the fifth floor has a great view, but remember that Dravo is way up the hill; I remember one friend telling me that after walking up the hill from class to his room in warm weather, he always headed straight for the shower.
All three of those dorms are pretty old; I think they all date from the early 1950s. They're no more removed from campus than any of the others. The upper Centennials were built in the mid-1960s, and the lower Centennials date from 1971. McConn was far more comfortable than Richards back then; good parking lot right behind it, airy rooms (with screens, which Richards lacked), and right across from Rathbone Hall. If you're taking a lot of business classes then the upper Centennials are right above the business college; one long stairway down the hill and you're in the right vicinity.
McClintic-Marshall and Taylor were a good deal older and hopefully have been renovated since I was a student.
BTW, the only time we didn't complain about the hills was on Parents' Weekend, when we delighted in torturing poor mom and dad.
As someone else said, it is pretty arbitrary where you end up but should you have had a choice here is the argument for M&M:
If you are social, you are going to want M&M, especially if you plan on parting. But since it is Lehigh you already are planning on doing a lot of that or you are going to the wrong school.
M&M cuts down on travel time to the hill which can make a big difference your freshman year with regard to 1) getting laid or 2) getting busted for underage drinking.
1) From the perspective of a freshman guy, you are at a numbers disadvantage at Lehigh. Add to that, the freshman thing places you at the bottom of the social ladder. Hence you want M&M because you meet more girls. M&M located just off the hill, acts as sort of a way station on the way to the parties on the hill. Keep some alcohol in your room and invite people over to “pre-game” before going up. Additionally, on the way back down its a lot easier to convince that chick you just met to come back to your room if you live just off the hill. Which girl would want to trek all the way down to lower cents (the worst case scenario) when they could just as easily get to bed via a shorter walk? Oh courses the counterpoint to this argument is they could just as easily stay in a frat and hookup with a brother, but that adds a whole different dimension to the model.
2) This is not as important as the first point but it still sucks. You are more likely to be busted for underage drinking by not living in M&M. We did an informal study and found the lower cents kids (me and my friends) got cited at a higher rate than those in M&M. Why, because you have to walk a longer distance and hence are more prone to doing some stupid stuff in front of some Brownies. The key point if you want to recreate this study is to control for pre-gaming and additional social aspects of M&M as opposed to cents.
The rooms are probably the smallest of all the freshman options available, but you will get to know everyone on your floor and most likely on the other two as well. You really are not going to spend that much time in your rooms so having a small room is not that big of an issue.
If you like to party M&M is the place to be.
You are an adult, be responsible for yourself and your actions, don’t be stupid and end up going to the hospital like that guy who survived a .505 BAC.
The steeper part of the mountain the campus is on where most of the fraternities and sororities are. Its where most freshmen go out at night since you obviously can't get into bars and won't know many people yet who have off-campus parties.